A shocking, but not surprising announcement was made by Rolex, Tudor (sister-brand of Rolex), Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard that the 5 brands will be withdrawing from Baselworld (the largest watch show in the world) for 2021. Along with the announcement, the brands hinted that other brands would follow and later be added to the "leaving Basel" list which leaves a question as too whom will be leaving along with the big 5.
What makes this decision that much more interesting is the connection in which Rolex, Patek and Chopard have with the F.H.H. or the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie which puts on fairs, shows and exhibitions to display new product and creativeness in the horological community and to promote Fine Swiss watchmaking. This is an indication that the brands and the F.H.H. could be creating a new show or a collaboration of different watch related events in the future.
With the 5 brands leaving Basel and others to follow in their wake, this is a massive blow to Baselworld that could potentially put an end to the show completely. There have been major issues in regards to refunding the brands from the cancellation of Baselworld 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused a letter to be sent by the head of the Baselworld Exhibitors Committee, Hubert Du Plessix, who is also an executive at Rolex, stating if refunds were not given to brands and exhibitors, "we fear this will be the end, pure and simple, of Baselworld." One last issue that may have buried Basel would be the fact that the show was cancelled and had been rescheduled to January 2021. However, the brands and exhibitors were not asked their opinions on the rescheduling date, therefore making Baselworld a conflict with other major watch and jewelry related events around that time.